Thursday, February 16, 2006

About me

A little about me (us?): We’re a barely 30s couple in the Northeast. We just purchased our first home six or seven months ago. It’s in far from perfect shape, but we love it anyway and are thrilled about every small improvement that we can manage. I mean, in this area, fixer-uppers (fixers-upper?) still aren’t cheap.

Before buying the house, we had gotten our credit card debt down to a manageable amount (still considerable, but manageable). After we moved in, of course, that total kept creeping up. We’ve now consolidated most all of it onto one 0% Amex card. But still, we’re talking just over $15k on the credit card. The minimum payment is about $320 a month, which we always manage to exceed, but we’ve gone from paying an active $1,000 or more a month (when we were renting), to less than that, now that we have a mortgage and considerable property taxes. And it’s frustrating.

The thing is, most all of the extra (meaning, “we’ve paid the bills…should we pay more on the credit card or use it for something else?”) cash that we have is going to making our house habitable. And I can’t say it’s so much a struggle to decide what should be done with the cash—we just go to Home Depot, spend the money, and then wonder later how it is that we didn’t put an extra $200 on the credit card this week. And promptly decide that, say, replacing the countertops and painting over high-gloss purple walls were totally worth it. The inch-by-inch improvements make us happy and are, in many cases, pretty necessary.

Why is this called “quartersaver”? Three years ago, we never thought we’d be homeowners. I have a ton of student loan debt (about$80k), and we both had plenty on our credit cards. We had personal loans so that we could consolidate our credit card payments, even. We’re so proud of how far we’ve come, but it really did take lots of small adjustments (including, incidentally, a small jar into which we’d put spare change, found money, lottery winnings, etc, hence the name “quartersaver”) in order to get this far. And though we still do have the jar full of petty cash on top of our TV, it’s a lot less full than it used to be. We’re looking for ways to economize, to do it ourselves on the home-improvement front, to save for our futures…and we’re just doing the best we can. We hope to find virtual friends who have great ideas and similar experiences, who might be able to benefit from the small ways we’ve made our lives a little more comfortable. Here, you’ll find home improvement advice and progress, debt-reduction advice and progress, and other notes relating to doing the best you can with what you have. Nice to meet you all.


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